Jeffrey Gettleman, whose work for the New York Times about the rape epidemic in Congo we've covered before, went back again this year armed with a video camera and some of the empathy the country needs. His piece today also manages to find a small bit of hope in the ability of women to finally tell their stories.What Gettleman finds during this trip, in addition to thousands more reported rapes, is a little bit of progress. Women are learning to tell the stories of their brutalization without shame, and to seek justice without fear. The police and the government are slowly realizing that these survivors are their mothers, their sisters, and their daughters and that the men that would sexually brutalize women to the point where they are left infertile, incontinent, permanently disabled or dead are more horrifying than their actions. Is it full scale change? No. With continuing violence of all types, no one expects an end to the rape epidemic any more than they expect a full end to the military conflict any time soon. But with people like Gettleman and playwright Eve Ensler, as well as organizations like the United Nations and the American Bar Association, attempting to draw attention to the issue and assist in pragmatic ways like helping women press charges, the police to investigate and, in Eve's case, establishing centers to provide counseling to victims, it's possible the tide of sexual violence is starting to ebb just a little. That's probably cold comfort to the women who have already been victimized, but it's a start to trying to make sure that there are some women in Congo who won't be. Rape Victims’ Words Help Jolt Congo Into Change [NY Times] Breaking The Silence [NY Times] Rape Epidemic Raises Trauma of Congo War[NY Times] Brutality in Congo [NY Times] Earlier: In Congo, They Rape Three-Year-Olds "Here At The Hospital, We've Seen Women Who Have Stopped Living" Critics Find The Greatest Silence "Chilling" But "Frustrating" "They Said If My Parents Didn't Give Them Money They Would Rape Me"
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What horrors these women must have faced.